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City park turns 100 with celebration planned for Aug. 22

July 12, 2009
By SHAWN TOMLINSON, The Leader-Herald

It was a time when people were in love with parks, the first decade of the 20th century.

After the building of Central Park in New York City before and after the Civil War, growing cities around the country began setting aside their own green spaces, their own playgrounds within the city limits.

Such was the state of Gloversville in 1909 when the Herman Myers Memorial Park was opened and dedicated that August.

Article Photos

The Leader-Herald/Shawn Tomlinson
Cynthia Morey, who helped found the Friends of Myers Park group after a walk through the park in 2000, stands in front of the bandstand at Myers Park Wednesday.

"The park got its name from a traveling peddler, Herman Myers, who climbed to the top of Burr Hill to rest while passing through the area," according to the Friends of Myers Park brochure, "Herman Myers Memorial Park: A Century of Family and Community."

"After he established a permanent store in Albany, his fondness for the wooded hillside remained," the brochure said. "Upon the passing of Herman Myers, his son, Max, purchased land on Burr Hill and donated it to the city of Gloversville for use as a city park."

Over the years, the park was first built up in the 1930s and 1940s, then allowed to fall into disrepair for some years until the recently retired Cynthia Morey was walking along with her dog and her friend Joan Fudger.

"There were no gardens, no flowers," Morey said Wednesday. "I said, 'what's happened to this park?' There were people coming up here, drug dealers, deviants. It wasn't pleasant."

Morey got permission, she said, from then-city Department of Public Works Director Ron Ellis to start planting gardens at Myers Park.

Then the retired nurse got help from volunteers and Judge Richard Giardino who helped bring AmeriCorps to the city.

"They were young people, six or seven of them," Morey said. "They were good workers."

The city owns the park, but Morey and her group of volunteers took "ownership" of the beautification of Myers.

"I started recruting in 2000," Morey said.

She said she talked to people walking through the park and asked them to help. She recruited friends and anyone who wanted to revive Myers Park.

Over the years, she has managed to get both volunteers and city DPW workers to help bring back the former beauty of the park. She also has gotten grants to hire peopke to get some work done.

"People have left us some money, too," she said.

Right now, people are working on restoring the stone gates at the entrances and turns of the park. Morey said she managed to get a $20,000 grant and said she hopes the gate posts will be restored by the end of the summer.

In the meantime, the Friends of Myers Park group has received help from the Fulton County Regional Chamber of Commerce & Industry in managing its money.

Some of that money will go to throw a 100th birthday party for the park, not as a fundraiser, but as a gift to the city residents, Morey said.

"On Aug. 22, we're going to have a party," Morey said. "It'll be a barbecue with the Winners Circle [catering]. It's not a fundraiser, just a celebration of what we have here in the city. We want to encourage people to enjoy what's here in the city."

The event will take place from noon to 4 p.m. The barbecue chicken meal will cost $8 while barbecue ribs will cost $10. For more information and tickets, call 725-0804.



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